A poll released today by a powerful labor union on energy issues might frighten legislators who come out in support of Gov. Phil Murphy’s plan to eliminate fossil fuel and move to 100% electrification.
More than seven out of ten New Jersey voters, 71%, say they are less likely to vote for legislative candidates who support increasing energy and utility costs by 30%, according to a McLaughlin & Associates poll conducted for the Engineers Labor-Employer Cooperative 825 and the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825.
The state Board of Public Utilities is expected to release a final version of the New Jersey Energy Master Plan next week.
According to the poll, 67% of New Jersey voters disapprove of a plan that would ban the use of natural gas for homes, businesses and transportation. Just 25% approve.
When asked if they would approve of replacing natural gas with a “more environmentally friendly” electric form of energy, the number went to 41% approve and 55% disapprove.
“Our polling shows one clear and undeniable fact – New Jersey residents want clean, affordable, and reliable Natural Gas. If next week’s Energy Master Plan includes a moratorium or complete phase-out of Natural Gas, it will be at complete odds with the voters of New Jersey,” said Greg Lalevee, the Operating Engineers business manager and the ELEC825 chairman. “Through this poll, respondents tell us that they’re willing to vote out anyone who seeks to eliminate their access to Natural Gas through a government mandate since it only will increase the price of energy for families and businesses large and small across New Jersey.”
Asked if the state should allow residents to make their own choices about what kind of power they use, 74% agreed and 21% disagreed.
“The fact is, New Jersey voters like natural gas,” said pollster Jim McLaughlin. They know it is environmentally friendly, they know it is safe, and they know it is affordable. In a state that already a very high cost of living, this Energy Master Plan is simply not acceptable to the voters.”
McLaughlin said that voters prefer “free-market solutions to solve their energy needs.
“They prefer to see new technologies developed that will address these problems, rather than the government mandating unrealistic and unaffordable solutions,” McLaughlin said.
Most voters – 72% — have little understanding of the Energy Master Plan, the poll shows, while 15% approve and 13% disapprove.
“New Jerseyans made their opinion very clear. They want access to affordable, reliable, and clean Natural Gas,” said ELEC825 director Mark Longo. “While there’s nothing wrong with the state being ambitious, we also need to be realistic. The economic reality is that a potential phasing out of Natural Gas from New Jersey’s energy mix will add to the economic burdens of our hard-working middle-class families, raise the cost of homeownership, and put a strain on business. We encourage our political leaders in Trenton to get on board with the voters who elected them.”
The poll was conducted between November 18-20, 2019 with a sample size of 500 likely general election voters and has a margin of error of +/- 4.5%.